Alan Wake 2's "Mind Place" Is the Coolest Game Mechanic of 2023

True Detective.

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Alan Wake 2

Alan Wake 2 represents a lot of firsts for Remedy, the studio’s first true survival horror game, the first game in an established Remedy universe, and the first next-gen-only title. The ambition of Alan Wake 2 is clear to see, especially after a behind-closed-doors demo. But one specific idea stands out above everything else, a brilliant twist on a detective game that Remedy calls the “Mind Place.”

My hands-off demo at Summer Game Fest delved into a half-hour of Alan Wake 2’s second chapter, taking place in the dense forests surrounding the town of Bright Falls. There are plenty of creepy and atmospheric details to dig into, but as Saga discovers details and clues she can jump into the Mind Place at any time. This essentially works like a pause button, and it’s a literally instantaneous switch from the main game to this mysterious otherworldly room within Saga’s subconscious.

Saga can collect a variety of clues throughout the world, but will need to piece everything together in the Mind Place.


Outside of the seriously impressive lack of loading, what’s cool about the Mind Place is that it serves as the catalyst for your investigation. Saga can use a traditional evidence board to piece together different clues, linking them together with red lines and creating hypotheses about certain suspects and the supernatural events at large.

There have been a lot of detective games over the years, but they can struggle to keep up a sense of intrigue or make the player feel like a bystander to the narrative. The Mind Place is Remedy’s answer to fixing that, letting the player put things together and move things forward. It’s a way to link the mechanics of Alan Wake 2 with the narrative, as you not only have to discover the clues through exploration but intuit how they fit into the story.

Another essential piece of the Mind Place is the profiling desk that lets Saga “enter” the minds of suspects, hearing and seeing what they were thinking. This is yet another wrinkle to the detective formula that reinforces Saga’s expertise and skill.

The profiling options gives Saga a handful of topics she can use to get into the mind of her suspect.


The contextual presence of the Mind Place is a clever addition to the psychological aspects of Alan Wake, and feels right at home with the series' Twin Peaks inspiration. Remedy teased that the room will serve other purposes on top of what we’ve seen, but what’s already there seems so complex I can scarcely imagine what more could be included.

Creative director Sam Lake told Inverse the Mind Place required “a lot of thinking and planning” to properly execute. The amount of work that’s gone into the system is already clear to see, and even as someone that loved the first Alan Wake, the Mind Place is the singular thing that has me most excited for its sequel.

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